EXCLUSIVE: Another academy trust missing from published DfE recovery plan details

Janet Downs's picture

Yesterday, this site questioned the reliability of the Department for Education (DfE) plan for recovering longer term advances given to academy trusts after missing data was discovered. 

Today, I have found another academy trust with a recovery plan which does not appear in the Freedom of Information response belatedly sent to Andrew Jolley by the Department for Education.

Chapeltown Academy Limited accounts for academic year 2016/17 show the academy owed ESFA £118,825 for ‘abatement of GAG’ (aka an advance to be repaid from future funding over time).  This is not included in the DfE plan.

Chapeltown’s most recent accounts show the 16-19 free school, opened in Sheffield in 2014, has a ‘cumulative deficit’ owing to insufficient pupil numbers.  A repayment plan is in place.

ESFA previously said it would prefer Chapeltown Academy to be rebrokered but transfer is temporarily on hold.  An Ofsted upgrading to good has increased pupil numbers.

ESFA’s financial support including advice from a ‘school resource management adviser’ (SRMA), one of ‘Lord Agnew’s cost-cutting advisers’, Schools Week found.   Chapeltown’s report, seen by the paper, advised the academy to ‘look to improve the efficiency of the kitchen, including reviewing the portion size and waste control.’

Lord Agnew, writing in Schools Week, said Chapeltown was not told to reduce lunch portions (although Schools Week quoted from the report).  SRMAs help schools use money efficiently.  Schools don’t have to follow SRMA recommendations…but they would be expected ‘to see the benefit of taking these independent, impartial recommendations on board’.

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